A Case of the Grumbles
May 9, 2012 2 Comments
I grumble against other people, especially the sheep of the flock I’ve been called to tend. The apostle James makes it clear I shouldn’t be doing this. “Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged.” (James 5:9) O…..K, that sounds serious to me!
But I fear my grumbling is not just against the sheep of God’s pasture I serve but also against the Good Shepherd I serve. When I complain about the lack of results I see, the problems I have to deal with, and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that are before me in ministry, am I not really directing much of this against God?
It’s important for me to be reminded just how serious an offense it is to grumble against God. Such a reminder comes from the account of the Israelites in the wilderness and what God said to them. “In this desert your bodies will fall – every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me.” (Numbers 14:29) The psalmist wrote of this that “they grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord.” (Psalm 106:25) Substitute “parsonage” or “pastor’s house” for “tents” in this last passage to drive home the application.
I’ll confess I don’t always see grumbling as a serious issue. I should; it’s quite clear in scripture that grumbling is a sin. I suppose, as far as sins go, I see it as a “white collar” type of crime, but a crime is still a crime; a sin is still a sin.
When I give some thought as to why grumbling against God is wrong, is sin, is serious sin, I come to the conclusion that in grumbling I question God’s goodness. I’m strongly hinting that He is not playing fair with me.
So, OK, grumbling is serious sinning, but I also know that the psalmists were often brutally honest in expressing their feelings to God; that’s why I enjoy reading the psalms so much. An honest pouring out of the heart to God is good, this is what I counsel my hurting parishioners to do, and I do it myself. What I’m realizing is that I need to ask for the Lord’s help in discerning between honest-to-God praying and grumbling.
The bottom line is that this grumbling needs to go! I must take the apostle Paul’s admonition to the Philippians to heart when it comes to the work of my ministry. “Do everything without grumbling…” (Philippians 2:14)